Charity Drive


I was a volunteer at home and now college, mostly with remedial reading. How can I get other students involved?

I want to acknowledge your effort, helping local kids learn to read. You also appreciate that one of the roles of a volunteer is encouraging others to join. Community activism has slowly dwindled to one of its lowest points in decades. According to statistics, just over 25% of Americans volunteered last year, an average of 32-hours per person. In 2003, that number was 29% volunteerism. We lost 14% of our volunteers in a few short years. If college students become active volunteers, they may continue during their lifetimes. Let's look at some creative ways to motivate your peers.

Planning is essential to any volunteer program. Incentivize other students by involving them in the planning process. Create a committee of students dedicated to your cause and all work on marketing the project. They instantly become emissaries recruiting others to join. Give students leadership roles and freedom to make decisions. This is your first lesson in motivating other volunteers.

Use social media to reach everyone on campus. Share information, updates, photos and videos about the project, especially the people you are helping. Keep volunteers interested online with YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. These are powerful tools used to market products and services. Your second lesson: volunteerism is a service you get students to emotionally purchase.

Students also love free stuff. Get t-shirts or baseball caps printed for volunteers. It worked for the Trump campaign. If your budget is tight, approach local business for contributions, explains active, donor wholesale distributors. Wearing these apparel is free advertising that encourages others to join you.

It's a real coup if you have future student professionals join as volunteers. Skills in high demand include medicine and education. Motivating these volunteers typically requires a mentor or another established professional to recruit them, advises a local gentle dentistry practitioner.

Good organizational skills allow students to know where and when their assignments are scheduled. That means a message board or group page to inform current and future volunteers. You should also share results of recent charity drives or donations with trusted members of your team. Wasted time, either waiting for materials or other volunteers, is a leading complaint, shares a community thrift store in Cleveland. This will discourage potential volunteers, sensing their effort aren't appreciated. Also, looking and acting like a leader will motivate your team and attract new members.

Find a connection to what students really care about. In an online world, Millennials have become very community minded. They discovered how to make a difference communicating online, through blogs, feedback, petitions. etc. This has changed their entire generation’s priorities. Students volunteer because they are passionate about the cause. They want to make a difference. Many have yet to find what resonates with them. Step in with your project to create another lifetime volunteer.

Volunteers are love in motion.

(John Regan is a former Director of Sales for equity research).


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